On the 339th day of the war in Ukraine Tensions rise between Russia and Italy with an exchange between Dmitry Medvedev, vice president of the Security Council, and Defense Minister Guido Crosetto. In a post on Telegram, the former president who became a hawk among hawks attacked the head of our military apparatus, calling him “a rare fool, an entrepreneur with an unfinished higher education”, referring to statements about the supply of armored vehicles such as a way to avoid World War 3. Shave also for the British government “guilty” of insisting on immediate supplies to Kiev of heavy weapons.
According to Medvedev, “defending a Ukraine that no one wants in Europe will not save the decrepit Old World from retaliation. Secondly, if a Third World War were to break out, it would, alas, not be a matter of tanks or even fighter jets, in which case everything would surely go to rubble.”
“If the Russians weren’t looking for a total victory, but only the end of hostilities and the restoration of international legality, which are the only objective of the Italian government and of my action as minister, it would be enough for them to sit down at the peace table. Only in this way, and immediately, everything would cease. Both the war and the military aid of Italy and of the other countries which are only helping an attacked State to defend itself against an aggressor State”, Crosetto replied shortly. to help a nation attacked for no reason and for no reason, like the Ukraine, to defend its cities, its people and its existence”.
The minister’s statements that triggered Moscow’s reaction, when it comes to Western tanks offered to Zelensky, referred to the possibility that it is the entry of Russian tanks into Kiev and the borders of NATO to trigger a Third World War world: “Not letting them come is the only way to stop it.” A scenario that in some respects captures the current evolution of the crisis, as well as partially reflecting the doctrine and guidelines of the Atlantic Alliance. Obviously, there is no Alliance willingness to engage in an open conflict with Russia that could easily escalate into a destructive nuclear confrontation.
However, what has already been said here is that the increasingly conspicuous commitment of NATO resources – in the last few hours negotiations for sending fighter jets and long-range missiles to Ukraine are also progressing, said the presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podoliak – makes a full victory for Moscow and a total defeat for Kiev a very dangerous scenario for Western countries potentially threatened by Russia as new targets. Especially at a time when the arsenals are depleting to support the resistance of the invaded country.
The agreement between Rome and Paris to sell Samp-T air defense systems together with a certain number of Aster-30 missiles in order to strengthen the ability of the Ukrainian armed forces to counter Russian attacks from the sky goes in this direction. The last day was also marked by rocket fire and artillery shelling. In the fighting, Moscow denounced a Ukrainian attack on a hospital in Novoaidar, in Lugansk, which allegedly left “14 dead and 24 injured”.
In the meantime, numerous analysts seem increasingly convinced that the Kremlin wants to speed up its new offensive (perhaps as early as the anniversary of February 24) to prevent the military strengthening of the enemy. A strengthening given above all by the tanks promised in these days. But, once the euphoria of the announcement has passed, the contours of the importance of the new shipments of heavy vehicles are better defined, which may not be as strong as assumed by some.
Ben Barry, a researcher at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, told the BBC that Western tanks will make a difference, but he also warned that the commitments made so far by Western countries are unlikely to prove decisive. Tanks are a key element for offensive operations, breaking through enemy lines and recapturing territory. In large numbers and in close formation, they can break down the enemy’s defenses. But they need pre-emptive artillery and infantry support to hold the ground they’ve conquered.
This means that to conduct simultaneous offensive operations on different fronts, as they did last year in the north and south of the country, the Ukrainian armed forces would need to have well over one hundred Leopard 2 or M2 Abrams tanks. It is true that the packages promised by London, Washington and other capitals include a whole series of complementary means for a massive attack, but it will probably take months to deploy troops trained on the new and more sophisticated tools.
For this reason, the verbal confrontation between Medvedev and Crosetto is not just an episode of the propaganda war, but embodies the meaning of the strategies of the two fronts. And it gives the measure of the dangers to which the current crisis is exposing us.
Ukraine. War day 339: Italy-Russia sparks and world conflict scenarios